By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried | 31 May, 2018
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
South Sudan’s “worst yet” hunger season looms. The New York Times reports that South Sudan’s hunger season has come early this year and is expected to be “the worst yet”. Four years of civil war have displaced millions of people from their homes, leaving countless farms abandoned and unproductive and pushing up food prices. Even during harvest time in January, the Times said, more than five million people to eat. The World Food Programme expects 7.1 million people to be severely food insecure between May and July. Meanwhile, continued fighting and the targeting of aid workers has made food distribution and other relief work increasingly difficult. In an opinion piece published by the Washington Post on Wednesday, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, reflects on the accounts of extreme violence she heard when she met displaced people in South Sudan last year.
Rohingya refugees push for International Criminal Court to investigate atrocities in Myanmar. On Wednesday, human rights lawyers submitted a request to the International Criminal Court to investigate continuing atrocities against the Rohingya in Myanmar. The request included 20 pages of thumbprints – the equivalent of signatures from 400 Rohingya women and girls now living as refugees in Bangladesh. Because Myanmar is not a signatory to the ICC, the lawyers are arguing prosecutors have jurisdiction to act in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled in search of safety. On 20 June, a panel of judges plans to hold a closed-door hearing to determine the question of jurisdiction. Sky News reports that the ruling could have far-reaching implications beyond Myanmar and Bangladesh. Syria, for example, is not a member of the court either, but neighbouring Jordan, where hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled, is.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Battle for rebel-held Yemen port could cut humanitarian lifelines. The Guardian reports that, after a rapid advance along the coast, Saudi-led coalition forces are just eight miles from Hudaydah Port, where 80 per cent of commercial goods and aid supplies are handled. Aid agencies predict that 200,000 people will be displaced if fighting breaks out in the centre of Hudaydah. Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen, said a battle over Hudaydah would “take peace off the table”.
Family separation negatively impacting Syrian refugees in Jordan. A new study by UNHCR and the Columbia Global Centers reveals the social, emotional and economic impact of family separation on Syrian refugees living in Jordan. The report finds that the absence of key family members has increased financial pressures and destroyed social networks. Families headed solely by women were found to face the greatest challenges. Those with family members in Europe described reunification procedures as prohibitively expensive, complex and subject to frequent changes. The authors argue that obstacles preventing family reunification should be urgently addressed.
How journalism can help beat human traffickers in Nigeria. Journalist and human rights educator Philip Obaji Jr. writes for Refugees Deeply about his efforts to prevent trafficking of women and children living in Nigeria’s camps for the internally displaced. Poverty in the camps makes young women and children susceptible to traffickers, who promise them well-paid jobs. Obaji has used both journalism and public education campaigns to shine a light on the issue. Realizing that traffickers often began conversations with potential victims while they were fetching water from dams outside the camps, he has also campaigned to improve access to clean water in the camps.
Syrians face economic desperation in rebel stronghold. Over the course of Syria’s seven-year war, more than 1.5 million people have been displaced to the rebel-held northwest of the country. But few of the new arrivals have found work in the cities or tent encampments popping up across this agricultural region, where aid groups struggle to deliver sustainable help. The Wall Street Journal reports that some young men with few prospects and no experience in farming are joining armed factions just to earn an income.
Jericho Road Community Health Center in Buffalo, New York, provides medical care to refugees, immigrants and low-income residents of the city. It has also opened clinics in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone, two countries where many of its patients and staff come from. Recently, a team of health-care workers from Buffalo, including four resettled refugees, travelled to Goma, in the DRC, to offer their medical skills at one of the clinics. It was an emotional journey for Maggie Nichols, who fled the DRC as a child and is now the head of development and strategic partnerships at Jericho Road. “It really came just full circle,” she told the Buffalo News.
DID YOU KNOW?
More than 80,000 displaced people have arrived in Syria’s north-western Idlib Province since March.